Multisensory Branding

Sound Design: How understanding the brain of the consumer can enhance auditory and multisensory product/brand development

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Charles Spence, University of Oxford


One cannot understand sound design without considering the whole multisensory product experience. Fortunately, the field of cognitive neuroscience has recently started to provide a number of key insights into how the senses of the consumer (e.g., hearing, vision, touch, taste, and smell) interact. Consequently, we can now predict better than ever before how changing the sounds that a consumer hears when touching or using a product will change their overall multisensory product experience.

Many studies have recently shown that the modulation of the auditory cues elicited by our contact or interaction with different surfaces and products – including everything from electric toothbrushes to aerosol sprays, and from carbonated beverages to cars – can dramatically change the way in which they are perceived, despite the fact that consumers are often unaware of the influence that these auditory cues have on their judgments.

In this talk, I will demonstrate how the growing cognitive neuroscience understanding of the brain of the consumer is already influencing auditory brand development. In particular, I will illustrate how the neuroscience-inspired approach to sound design is currently being applied to the design of products, their packaging, the environments in which those products are purchased/used, not to mention in marketing communications, and finally to the area of new product naming.